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Author's profile photo Kristin Aleksandrova

Is one click system conversion on Azure the next thing? – An SAP TechEd 2021 session impression.

After some very exciting announcements and 48 hours of content, SAP TechEd 2021 delivered a glimpse into the near and far future of the products we know so well and those that are yet to come. It is the second year we have a virtual format, and I must give credit, where credit is due. There are undeniable advantages to an online conference and personally I appreciate the fact that agenda building is not stressful at all. One of the most frustrating moments for me has always been, hearing from my colleagues “Did you see session X? It was so well thought out I’m sure you liked it, it’s right on your expertise” … and no I usually did not see it and apparently I will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed exchanging notes with my colleagues and going over the highlights of the conference, but I do still wish I had seen some of their recommendations myself. 

Introduction to session DT201 – “Migrate from SAP ERP on Premise to SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure” 

In spirit of that I decided to combine the things I vividly remember from past year’s conferences and give you a breakdown of one of the TechEd sessions, that stood out to me. And in case you are interested, you can have no regrets as this year’s TechEd sessions are again recorded and available. On the last day of TechEd there was a session called “Migrate from SAP ERP on Premise to SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure” by Mathias Klein and Holger Bruchelt. To me the topics of system conversion and migration are extremely interesting, considering the usual SAP system and how much the complexity of a productive landscape can scale overtime. So, I would say I had a pretty good idea of the type of content I would see in this session and as always whenever I see a collaboration of this scale, my expectations tend to rise. Well, Mathias and Holger did not disappoint.  

Key takeaway of the session 

I saw this well-designed concept of optimizing and combining your landscape move to Azure with an S/4HANA conversion, and especially the database migration. No more file exports to move the system. One Software Update Manager (SUM) procedure takes care of both the conversion and the move. And that’s just the beginning: they showed two different approaches to establishing a secure tunnel between your on-premise landscape and Azure, so you can choose what fits best to your requirements. Two more things really stood out to me: One is the SAP certified virtual machines that are now available in Azure, so even someone like me who has trouble choosing between different virtual systems can rely on a reference architecture. The other is performance optimization, since the SUM is running on an Azure virtual machine it’s possible to employ the old as time principle – “Time is money.” You can play around and invest in powerful infrastructure for the virtual machine, that will run the SUM process, which in turn would result in a better runtime for the whole procedure and reduce the technical downtime. Listening to Mathias I get the feeling I don’t need to be an expert to do this, the process feels straightforward the steps well defined and documented, there seems to be a variety of templates for the infrastructure and good guidance on how to setup network connectivity, in the end it’s the regular SUM procedure with an even more optimized Database Migration Option (DMO). 

Slide taken from TechEd session “Migrate from SAP ERP on Premise to SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure” 

Planned automation 

What truly impressed me in this session was the forward-looking vision for the so called “Guided system conversion to Microsoft Azure”, which outlined the possibility to automate significant parts of the process, especially the target landscape preparation, which would be possible via SAP Cloud Appliance Library (CAL). This feels big, because it’s also the first time CAL is used for the provisioning of a productive environment. Considering the portfolio of CAL, one can only start imagining all the possibilities for automation of system and landscape management and I’m truly excited to see how this solution develops. You can read more about it in this blog.

Slide taken from TechEd session “Migrate from SAP ERP on Premise to SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure” 

Downsides of the current state 

In all fairness, there are certain limitations. It was mentioned that the current scope is systems that are less than 5TB, which by no means is a small system, but also it doesn’t sound realistic to target larger data migrations than that at this point. In time this will most likely change and at that point this approach would have been thoroughly tested. Additionally, this is not an approach that supports intermediate hybrid setups, you move and transform your system and then reestablish all connections and migrate all solutions on top of it, so in reality this is only the first step of the whole conversion process. And of course, the main feature that is so exciting for me – the automation, is not yet available. However, I plan on patiently waiting to see this process automated as drawn in this session.     


It is always interesting to hear what SAP plans for the future and how each product develops. As someone who appreciates understandability, simplicity and availability of all maintenance operations to non-expert people, these were inspiring 30 minutes, that I spent as part of SAP TechEd 2021. At the moment you can find the recording of this session on the SAP TechEd page: TechEd 2021 ( I can only hope that you were as inspired by this year’s conference, and I hope that my summary and impressions were of use to you! 

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